Movie Review: “Opening Night” at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival


“Opening Night” is a romantic and comedic musical take on the chaotic opening night for a Broadway musical called “One Hit Wonderland”. More simply, “Opening Night” is a musical about a musical. Nick, played by Topher Grace (That 70’s Show), is a failed actor turned stage manager of the musical within a musical. His lingering romantic interest is Chloe, played by Alona Tal (Veronica Mars), who is the understudy of Brooke (Anne Heche), the female lead of One Hit Wonderland. Chloe has a drunken tryst with JC, played by JC Chasez (NSYNC), which is the grist that drives this story through the mayhem, the dancing and the songs of “Opening Night”.

More After The Break

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Photo By Billy Bennight of Topher Grace for The Los Angeles Beat at the premiere of Opening Night

Malcolm, played by Taye Diggs, is Chloe’s confidente and knows the back story Nick so desperately wants in on, but is shut out because of his breakup with Chloe a year before. There are many story lines that are weaved and tethered here that hold this lovers yarn together. JC, the lead in One Hit Wonderland, is a singer of a one hit wonder himself and because of that fame has had all the women. There’s a musical number built around his conquests that resonates well with his character and is highly entertaining! His recent conquest of Chloe is eventually exposed. This information leads to a make or break moment with lots of conflicts, laughs and a heartfelt reckoning. This is one of the few musicals where it’s totally logical to break out in song, because it’s about a musical, where song and dance go hand in hand, seamlessly telling the story in a contemporary and relevant way.

“Opening Night” is a charming and heart warming look at the human condition, of love and heartbreak within the context of a traditional musical format; it’s filled with failures, humor, conflicts and the occasional victory!

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity and red-carpet events for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Parade, Wall Street Journal, and French Elle, both Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Italia. He's very engaged in life. You an see more of his work at ZUMA Press at You can follow him on his Facebook page at: and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
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